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scarletpimpernel eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Finny's vision of peace is similar to what most idealistic young people consider to be peace--he thinks that everyone can get along, especially if athletics or sports are involved.  After Finny breaks his leg the second time, Gene visits him in the hospital, and the two boys finally have a sincere conversation.  When Finny confesses to Gene that he had been pretending that the war wasn't real because he was hoping that some country's military would take him, Gene points out that Finny wouldn't be any good in the war, even if nothing had happened to his leg.  He goes on to tell Finny,

" 'They'd get you some place at the front and there'd be a lull in the fighting, and the next thing anyone knew you'd be over with the Germans or the Japs, asking if they'd like to field a baseball team against our side' " (190).

Finny has to admit that that is true.  He cannot stand to see conflict between or among others.  Even earlier in the book before his injury, Finny always smoothed things over between Leper and Brinker (who enjoyed mocking Leper).  Moreover, at the novel's end, when Finny and Gene finally discuss what really happened up in the tree, Finny needs to know that Gene did not hold any animosity toward him.  Only then can he be at peace with himself--he cannot tolerate the thought that someone did not like him.

missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For Finny to have a vision of peace is and odd consideration. I mean, by the end of the book, we find the great struggle he had throughout the book was that he was hurt and he wanted to go to war and really couldn't. He pretended to his friends that he was at peace. He played it cool all over the place, but things really weren't okay. We do the same thing. How many times does someone ask you how you're doing and you just say that your fine even though there is tough life stuff going on for you?

I agree with the previous teacher that all would be well for Finny if athletics and sports were involved. I believe that's what made war so appealing to him: the strategic possibilities. His inner peace would only have been reached if he could be involved. In fact, in chapter 12 Finny tells Gene about the letters he wrote everywhere just to get to be involved. Having this question of peace drawing him to war seems oxymoronic, but think about it, all war leads to a peace treaty of some kind. Most fights in life work out to truce eventually.

Likewise, Finny's peace comes from watching his peers feel satisfied. The entire book portrays him entertaining and creating events for his friends.


robertop | Student

isnt it more like when he pretends that there is no war